Environmental Committee announces Terracycle initiative

By Olivia Montes
News Co-Editor

As the fall semester continues, the Washington College Student Government Association Environmental Committee continues to expand the campus’ commitment to sustainability.

On Nov. 2, the Environmental Committee announced their intentions to install 10 Terracycle boxes outside laundry rooms in residential halls on campus by the end of November, according to the SGA Senate Minutes. In addition, informational flyers instructing how these containers are used and what can be recycled in them will be displayed alongside them.

As part of their #RecycleEverything and Loop sustainability initiatives, the social enterprise Terracycle offers a “range of national, easy-to-use recycling platforms” funded by brands, retailers, and other manufacturers around the world “to help [individuals] collect and recycle…hard-to-recycle waste,” according to the Terracycle website. 

Through their partnerships with events, offices, schools, and homes, the program strives to “[eliminate] the idea of waste” by “[taking] hard-to-recycle materials,” such as single-use plastic and packaging, “and turn them into new products” rather than additional materials for landfills, according to their website.

“It’s a great program for the College because it’s free — and, with every box full of recycling we send out, we earn points that translate into donations to local organizations,” SGA Secretary of the Environment and senior Alexa Venturato said. 

According to Venturato, who first heard about the Terracycle program while in high school, the motivation to implement this programming across campus was “to promote conscious disposal of products [used] every day,” as well as further emphasize the importance of practicing sustainability both on and off the College campus.

“Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials and the one that ends up in our dumpsters the most, [and] Terracycle is looking to close the loop and give plastics another option besides the landfill,” she said. “[Because of this and] our committee [being] very conscious of our plastic usage…I thought it might be a good fit to defer some of our campus waste as we strive to make more sustainable commitments campus-wide.” 

As of Nov. 10, the partnership between the Environmental Committee and Terracycle is implemented. Future plans to collaborate with other sustainability organizations and initiatives are also in consideration. 

According to the Senate Minutes from Nov. 2, the Committee also introduced other sustainable practices of their own across the WC campus, including, but not limited to: installing QR codes for water bottle refilling stations; encouraging Dining Hall Services to permit students to bring and use their own to-go boxes; and further working on the Director of Sustainability resolution.

As the semester continues to unfold, Venturato said she hopes that installing these Terracycle boxes will not only have a permanent place at the College, but will also further encourage students, staff, and faculty members alike to continue practicing sustainability as much as possible. 

“My hope is that after this first year of development and working out the system, this will be a lasting fixture of the SGA Environmental Committee and by extension the Sustainability Council,” Venturato said. 

“The message I want to convey with this program is that small actions on the part of a larger group can have an impact locally and globally,” she said. 

Elm Archive Photo
Featured Photo Caption: On Nov. 2, the Washington COllege Student Government Association Environmental Committee announced that, alongside the social enterprise Terracycle, they will be installing ten boxes outside laundry rooms.

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